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The Social Media Question Comrade 08/19/2019 (Mon) 15:11:52 No. 620
What is to be done about social media?
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It is to be abolished.
>>538
But how will we deal with all the normies who are addicted to it?
>>539

give em better stuffs to do obvsly
Replaced with socialist media ofc
Look at it from a materialistic perspective: Social media is a capitalistic enterprise dominating society; monopoly.

What are alternatives to this? Tor, i2p, Zeronet, Freenet.

With out capitalism "social media" (which should really more appropriatly be called 'anti-social media' wouldn't exist as it wouldn't be able to constantly shove itself in our faces.

Furthermore, these things are the result of social alienation and with out capitalism social alienation would become a thing of the past.

I imagine people would go back to communicating through gophers and other random mediums; Facebook could also be socialized itself or collectivized; Become open source.
Facebook, Twitter, etc. would be nationalized and possibly merged into one, democratically controlled social media network free of all forms of corporate manipulation.
>>537
The problems with social media are:
>It tracks you, thereby enabling government and corporate control
>It enables individuals with social or monetary power to engage in mass norm setting, determining how others should behave
>It sucks your attention, thereby stealing it from more important facets of your life

The third problem, I think, is insolvent. Idiots want to be distracted, they will take the most powerful drug that can do this. To create a less addictive social media is to condemn it from the start.

The second problem is easier, but still difficult. People, in large part, want to be told what to do. The best a new social media can hope for is to make people aware of the ways they are being controlled, and to give powers to the people on how they are controlled. Let me be plain here: the problem is advertising, both overt and otherwise. When coke shows you an ad, it is not because they want you to buy coke, it is because they want you to believe that coke is cool, so that when you see someone drinking coke, you will think them cool, and only then so that you will buy coke to become cool. This is possible because so many people see their ads; coke become cool by showing ads. Most people want to be cool, and so enjoy these ads. But we can offer control to the people to determine that certain companies - or ideas - are damaging to the public good, and so should not be allowed to spread themselves.

The first problem should be the easiest of all. Social media has an excess of money, and selling their users data is only meant to increase it. A social media created for the public good should be able to fund itself on public donations, and if not that, untargeted ads should keep it afloat. Only if the cancer of VC funding is accepted does it need to grow beyond it's natural size.
The internet has a zoomer problem.
Because they didn't witness the rise of social media, they accept it as a normal and expected part of life, and don't see its historical material origins under neoliberalism.
What is social media? At a fundamental level, social media is a reaction of the bourgeoisie to the atomization caused by the increasing levels of commodity fetishism of the spectacle, and with it the decline of social institutions of cultural hegemony. Realizing that having control over the social institutions of cultural hegemony can be quite profitable various capitalist began designing alternatives to the declining traditional institutions. Its design was such thatit benefits from atomization, so the bourgeoisie in control of it encourage further atomization of their users.

What are the characteristics of these new institutions? What are there mechanisms of enforcing cultural hegemony? The most interesting mechanism to me is the one most essential to the platform. There is a commodification of symbols of social integration through mechanisms such as likes, subscriptions, followers, "ratios", etc. This leads to a fetishism of these indicators of social integration and with this a increased desire to integrate socially. On top of this there is direct manipulation of these platforms to suppress dissenting opinions primarily through hiding them but occasionally through outright removal. Lastly there is the mechanism of control given to other bourgeoisie, these come in the form of astroturfing and other tactics to manipulate what is perceived as socially integrated.

So what is to be done? I think that these institutions are designed to operate in the interests of the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie, and thrive off atomization. I think to replicate it under proletariat control would be a clear mistake, and would just reflect how effective the cultural hegemony is. I think to attempt and take it over in the most surface way would be a mistake, it'd be ignoring both the mechanisms of control, and the power structure of the institution, it's reformism. What we clearly need is a revolution of the shitposting classes which will abolish the social relations of present, but it's important to note that this revolution will not be the same as the revolutions of old but must reflect the material conditions of the present of the shitposting class... no but I don't know what is to be done.
>>618
Brilliant. I'll be copypastering this to dump on liberals, who in their childish naivety struggle to understand what social media is philosophically doing.

It's amazing that the like/subscription/follower mechanisms haven't had vastly more papers and articles written about them, because they are the organizing principle of the nu-internet, and no less influential on behavior and social relations, than currency is in the physical world.
>>619
>Brilliant. I'll be copypastering this to dump on liberals, who in their childish naivety struggle to understand what social media is philosophically doing.
Okay, you might want to fix the typos and maybe define some terms for liberals though.

>It's amazing that the like/subscription/follower mechanisms haven't had vastly more papers and articles written about them, because they are the organizing principle of the nu-internet, and no less influential on behavior and social relations, than currency is in the physical world.
There's lots of information on how to use these mechanisms written for the bourgeoisie, and there are even "social media majors" who spend some time studying this type of thing I think. So far as I can tell there is no real critique of the methodology of change in the western world though, they all seem to do the exact same thing, and it's just a matter of who can do it better.
>>620
Ah yes I was implying a Marxist critique, rather than a marketing degree about leveraging Instagram followers.
The best the left-of-center media can manage is articles about how not getting enough likes is causing depression in teenage girls.
(or body dysmorphia caused by snapchat filters)
>>621
>Ah yes I was implying a Marxist critique, rather than a marketing degree about leveraging Instagram followers. The best the left-of-center media can manage is articles about how not getting enough likes is causing depression in teenage girls.
Ah okay.
Kill it with GDPR on steroids.
What should not be done is even trying to explain the existence of social media in terms of the individual user as a brainwashed fool who just needs to get properly despooked by some upcoming podcast/vlogging hero from the left. Since the users don't directly pay for these services it stands to reason that they don't have that much influence on how these services are designed. The main factor in attracting users is due to the network effect (how many are already using it) and not some inherent technical quality. The pressure to have a good interface and a not too creepy privacy policy is really only there for those platforms that are small.

Economists distinguish between non-positional goods and positional goods. A non-positional good is something that makes you happy irrespective of how much others have of it; a positional good is something that only makes you happy dependent on how you are doing relative to others. (Of course this is a bit crude. We may think of these two concepts as two ends of a scale and different people might have not quite the same idea where to put the slider for this or that good.)

On an old-school forum ostensibly centered around a shared interest there is almost always some personal drama and competing for social clout going on, but there is also often a notion of building up something, going forward, gaining knowledge, getting better at repairing cars or whatever the big topic is. By sharing knowledge, you and me can both gain. Vertical social position is not like that. If I am number one, you can't be number one.

On services like Twitter, the aspect of learning has atrophied to an almost homeopathic level, which leaves you with the zero-sum game. Prominently displayed for any random lurker from anywhere in the world to see is a number of accounts that you follow and a number of accounts that follow you, suggesting the goal of a surplus. For all accounts taken together,
1. the column with accounts that follow account A, accounts that follow account B etc. and
2. the column with accounts that are followed by account A, accounts that are followed by account B etc.
must always result in identical sums. The aggregate ratio will always be 1:1. Humanity as a whole can't receive more or less person-eyeball-time than the person-eyeball-time humanity gives.

It used to be a pretty normal online experience that one could be a big name in one place and a small one in another. A person with an unremarkable job could still be respected at least by peers in his hobby scene. More and more data gets collected, real names get pushed everywhere, and these local hierarchies and their implicit local scoring systems are fading out. And they are not replaced by egalitarianism or the dictatorship of the STEMlords, but by a totalized hierarchy of global yet surprisingly inbred elites. Not Einstein, but Paris Hilton. She can enter your hobby cellar and poop on your favorite model train and there is nothing you can do about it… Unless we go back to the old ways, the pseudonymous forums and just doing more exclusively in meatspace.
>>625
It's absolutely fascinating.

Like a digital miniature of global capitalism colonizing the physical world.
The Kula ring (based on yam farming and ocean expeditions), mediated social relations in Papua New Guinea for hundreds of years.
Then the cruise ships arrived. Kula ring dead. Yam farming dead. Culture dead. Everyone switches to manufacturing crude versions of their traditional goods as commodities. Then having them made in China. Everyone's job is now to literally cosplay and sell wooden carvings to fat yanks.

Traditional internet culture barely got 10 good years before getting steamrollered by social media.
https://repeaterbooks.com/the-great-digital-swindle-by-mark-fisher/

"But how has this model of progress, in which history culminates in the glorious invention of iPhones and apps, become so uncontested?
And, if we attend closely, isn’t there a desperate quality to all this cheerleading?
Addicts always rationalise their compulsions, but the desperation here belongs to capital itself, which has thrown everything at the great digital swindle. Capital might still swagger like some data cowboy, but iPhones plus Victorian values can only be a steampunk throwback.
The return to centuries’ old forms of exploitation is obfuscated by the distracting urgencies of digital communication."
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What's next for social media?
How can it get any more cancerous?
Replace with decentralized, FOSS, psuedonymous alternative, preferably run as a workers' co-op or something.
>>674
There mere existence of decentralized, FOSS, pseudonymous alternatives will not do a single thing to overthrow the corporate domination of the internet.
>>675
But foss hackers and codemonkeys will.

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